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Cutting through the clutter: Lynn de Souza

November 11, 2010
Lynn de Souza,
50, Chairman & CEO, Lintas Media Group
(New on BT's Most Powerful list)

She saw it coming and took it on the chin rather well. The recent loss of the Rs 150-crore ITC account could have been a body blow for Lynn de Souza, Chairman & CEO, Lintas Media Group (LMG), but she has emerged pretty much unscathed thanks to plans B, C, D and more. "We knew this was going to happen and prepared by winning many businesses, " says de Souza.

Ever since she stepped into the tough-as-nails advertising and media industry in 1983, de Souza has learnt to take on crises and competition - and thrive. Industry veteran Sam Balsara, Chairman & MD, Madison World, feels de Souza has done remarkably well: "This is an industry where you are constantly dealing with big and powerful people. All of them are successful and have big egos. Being a woman has its advantages, but it is not easy either," he says.

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De Souza has become an icon herself in a Rs 21,000-crore industry that aims to build brands and strategies that can break through the clutter. Her career path, leading up to the corner room, has seen virtually no detours. She did take a sabbatical in 1998 at Lintas, when she did a one-year course in veterinary nursing at Brisbane North Institute of Technical and Further Education to pursue her passion for animal welfare. But it has been advertising, media and little else otherwise.

"She heads several industry bodies and has also stormed into the maledominated AAAI (Advertising Agencies Association of India) as its Vice President this year," says a senior industry observer.

-Shamni Pande
The 30 Most Powerful Women
1. Schauna Chauhan
2. Zarin Daruwala
3. Lynn de Souza
4. Tanya Dubash
5. Shyamala Gopinath
6. Vinita Gupta
7. Kaku Nakhate
8. Vedika Bhandarkar
9. Manisha Girotra
10. Lalita Gupte
11. Usha Narayanan
12. Akhila Srinivasan
13. Leena Nair
14. Vinita Bali
15. Chanda Kochhar
16. Roopa Kudva
17. Naina Lal Kidwai
18. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
19. Zarina Mehta
20. Zia Mody
21. Kalpana Morparia
22. Vishakha Mulye
23. Swati Piramal
24. Meher Pudumjee
25. Madhabi Puri Buch
26. Chitra Ramkrishna
27. Preetha Reddy
28. Shikha Sharma
29. Mallika Srinivasan
30. Sangeeta Talwar

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